Managing your diabetes during the holidays

The holidays are synonymous with food. It’s simply bound to be a part of the season’s festivities!  We share old favorites and try out new recipes. We attend gatherings at work, at church, with friends and with family. According to Leigh Ann Brooks, RN, BSN, RD, CD, CDE, nursing services operational lead, Diabetes Education Center, there is a strategy for finding balance and maintaining control of your blood sugar and weight.

A new routine

One of the most important aspects of surviving the holiday season with diabetes is setting a goal to maintain as much routine as possible. Maintaining your routine blood sugar checks, medications and meals can make a big difference. Checking your blood sugar and taking medication may seem simple, but even the most well-intentioned people can get caught up in the holiday busyness and miss testing times or doses. If you don’t normally set reminder alarms for your testing or medication, this time of year it would be a good idea to do so.

Find foods that work

Once monitoring and medications are managed, the focus can turn to diabetes-friendly meals for the holiday season. Here are some tips to keep your carbohydrates and calories in check this holiday season:           

  1. Plan ahead – Planning ahead makes it easier to avoid pitfalls when attending holiday parties. If you are asked to bring a dish, make sure it is one that is healthy for you to eat. This way you know you will have something that works for your meal plan.
  2. Size things up – Not every dish needs to be “made-over” and diabetes friendly. Consuming your favorite foods in smaller portions is a good option as well. This way you can enjoy them and maintain blood sugar control.
  3. Pick and choose – Enjoy the season’s best. If you rarely have your aunt’s famous pasta salad, that may be what you choose to eat instead of a dinner roll that you can eat year-round.
  4. Review the offerings – Scan the buffet, table or menu. Choose salads and vegetables first, which will help fill you up. Choose the foods higher in carbohydrates, fat and calories second. Filling up on salads and other vegetables may help prevent over eating of the higher calorie foods.
  5. Beware of beverages – Alcoholic beverages, hot chocolate, flavored coffees and smoothies can all have a significant number of calories. Less than 200 calories a day should come from beverages. Alcohol should never be consumed on an empty stomach.
  6. Fix your focus – Divert your attention this holiday season from the food to your family and friends. Focus on the reason for your celebration. Food is a great complement to our gatherings, but don’t let it be the center of your attention.

    Enjoy your holiday and celebrate good health this season!

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